Review: KCON 2014 Sunday Concert

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Welcome to part two in our review of the KCON Mnet Countdown concerts in Los Angeles earlier this month. Today we’re talking about the Sunday concert. In case you weren’t aware, both concerts – the one on Saturday (read our review here) and the one on Sunday – had completely different lineups, right down to the opening acts. Both, however, were filled with lots of K-pop fun and excitement! I know my inner fangirl was in heaven.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

The Pre-Show

I adore dancing and love to watch talented dancers. Dancing 9 were a dream to watch. I was super impressed by Kim Myung Gyu, whose jumps were simply amazing. Lee Luda had a very interesting modern dance routine and the two of them together were beautiful to watch.

The second opening act was Jhameel who had a lovely voice and very interesting facial design/tattoo. It intrigued me. The beatboxing in the middle of one of his songs was also interesting.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

BTS

They had lots of personality when they introduced themselves – so much fun to watch, And wow, holy screams Batman! The crowd loved them. Rap Monster – what an interesting stage name – addressed the crowd in English, quite well actually. I enjoyed their performance so much I almost forgot to take pictures, and that is saying something because I do a lot of concert photography.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

I had a happy surprise while watching them perform, turns out I knew their music better than I thought which kicked up my enjoyment of their performance a notch. Hence the second picture. ^^

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Jung Joon Young

I knew next to nothing about him except for the little research I did pre-KCON but as soon as I heard that he grew up listening to Nirvana, I was intrigued. I’m probably stereotyping but Nirvana doesn’t sound like the normal inspiration for K-pop stars. Plus I liked Nirvana too. And he didn’t disappoint! In fact he rocked (pun intended). I love his voice and as soon as I got home I went right to iTunes to see if I could buy his music, that’s how much I enjoyed it.

He was the best of both worlds – pretty boy K-pop star with the voice and attitude of a rocker. I loved – and so did the rest of the crowd – his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Black or White”, helped by Rap Monster from BTS.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Spica

Now I’m not a girl group fan generally as they are often too sugary sweet but I enjoyed Spica. They have more of a R&B feel than straight pop which was nice. Interestingly, they were one of they few groups that didn’t use any English when they interacted with the crowd. I know this shouldn’t be an issue but interaction with the musicians is one of the things that elevates live music from its recorded brethren. However, I loved the voice of the one with blonde hair, so sexy. And of course they performed their new English song, “I Did It” – which is a nice, catchy song.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

CNBLUE

They were the ones I was most looking forward to on Sunday and WOW, they didn’t disappoint! I’ve long been a fan but live, holy cow, they are so absolutely amazing live. And I certainly wasn’t the only fan in the crowd as they brought the house down. The only sad part was that Lee Jong Hyun (이종현), whom I loved in A Gentleman’s Dignity, was on the other side of the stage – and bands who play instruments can’t move around as much as those who don’t – so I didn’t get to see him well.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

The music, however, rocked. They played many of my favourite CNBLUE songs and it’s always fun watching musicians whose songs I know so well, I can sing along. And trust me, I did! ^^ They also interacted with the crowd extremely well. I absolutely loved the ‘repeat after me’ segment that started with “love, love, love” and ended with beatboxing. Too funny!

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Girl’s Generation

They were definitely the fan favourite. I thought the crowd went nuts for CNBLUE but it was like another level of happiness was reached when Girl’s Generation came on. Especially when they introduced themselves (so cute) or sung… or pretty much the entire time they were on stage. ^^ While not my cup of tea, I was definitely in the minority. Their music may not be my thing but man, can they entertain and their interaction with the crowd was funny, cute and just what the fans wanted.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Final Thoughts

Other than being much hotter in the arena than Saturday night (which was odd as the day was a little more temperate), it was an absolute fantastic concert. For me, concerts are about the music (check), the sheer entertainment of seeing the musicians perform (check), and the fan experience/interaction with the musicians (check). Both nights of the KCON concerts exceeded my expectations – and I was only really a fan of two of the ten acts, G Dragon and CNBLUE (yes, I liked a few more but casually) – on a variety of levels from hyping the crowd up at the start of the show, not that they needed it, to the way the MCs kept everyone engaged to how smoothly (and quickly) the entire show went from one act to another. KCON nailed the concerts and not only elevated my opinion of some of the musicians but introduced me to others who I didn’t know and now like. And I’ve backed up my opinion by buying new music since returning home.

Image courtesy of CJ E&M
Image courtesy of CJ E&M

Would I recommend you go next year? Definitely! Yes! Of course! But we’re not done with this year’s yet! Stay tuned for more KCON articles – and some exclusive red carpet pictures – and maybe even a small giveaway!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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